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, it is not just a retirement program. host: how does social security factor into this fiscal cliff negotiation process? guest: the republicans put together a plan in the last few weeks to change the way the annual cost of living adjustment is calculated for social security beneficiaries. it is the annual increase in benefits that people get in their monthly payments, it is usually annual, this coming year for instance, next month in january they are scheduled to get a 1.7% increase in benefits. that is based on a government measure of inflation. for social security they use the consumer price index. there is a new measure of inflation that the government has been considering for a while. on average, it is a little bit lower. it reflects a lower level of inflation than what the government has been using up until now. on average they tell us that the kola would be about .03% less. last year the increase was 3.6%. that's the biggest effective of adopting this new measure of inflation that the republicans put on the table. the reason why we're focusing on this and a lot of groups have been focusin
in order to avoid going over the fiscal cliff? >> oh, yeah, i would be. you know, i think it is remarkable that right after the election we get this thing that comes right up in our faces that basically outlines in bold relief the differences in the two ideas about how we go forward in this country. it is really excellent timing, and we may have to go over the cliff, if it is forced into it. but this idea that you bring down the cost of medicare by making it available to more people is a terrible idea of mr. boehner's. the idea -- i would be terribly upset, along with many of my friends, if obama compromised too much on what needs to happen that is called the fiscal cliff. >> do you think a prominent third-party would help our country? >> i felt strongly about that when i supported john anderson in 1979. he was -- a large part of anderson's campaign was to sue the state ballot procedure into allowing third parties to have more access to the electoral process. i would like to see a third party available, but that, too, seems like a really tall order. >> what do you think is the appropriate
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